Without women leadership in this country, Uganda would not have achieved what it did in the region, continent and worldwide
The United States of America Head of Mission, Ambassador Deborah Malac has called on the Government of Uganda to better the lives of girls and women saying statistics indicate otherwise and that steps must be taken now.
"Ugandans everywhere from Government and civil society to parents and teachers will have to take responsibility to make the necessary changes to reverse these trends. I have no doubt that the people in this room are ready to answer this call to action," Malac said yesterday (Monday)
She was speaking to a group of women at a luncheon dedicated to the discussion of women and leadership in Uganda at Serena Hotel in Kampala.
The event was organized by the US Mission in partnership with Uganda Women's Network (UWONET) The theme was: ‘Overcoming invisible barriers to women's leadership.'
Some of the women who participated include Prof Maggie Kigozi, Dr. Sylvia Tamale, Dr. Miria Matembe, women in various businesses, among others.
Quoting recent UN reports that state that one in four Ugandan teenage girls get pregnant, almost half of all Ugandan girls are married before the age of 18 and at least 20percent of girls above the age of 5 never receive formal schooling, Malac said each of those numbers represents another girl's potential not realized.
"Now as you know, I sometimes get accused of being too direct but there is no way I can be either way. Outspoken women often get criticized. But the evidence shows that women and girls do struggle the statistics about Ugandan girls speak for themselves," the Ambassador said.
She added that according to research, investments in women's employment, health and education have a direct connection to a country's economic growth and successful development.
"No nation can become a vibrant middle-income country if it leaves half its population out of the development equation. Now I have noticed here in Uganda that men sometimes complain that if women's economic and social situation improves, they will suffer. Let me be clear: gender equality does not mean making one gender better than another or putting women ahead of men. It means creating partnerships between women and men to help move countries forward," Malac added.
Ritah Aciro, the Executive Director UWONET said it is very important that we reflect on issues and barriers that continue to impede on women's leadership at different levels and spheres in Uganda.
"Without women leadership in this country, Uganda would not have achieved what it did in the region, continent and worldwide. Women's leadership will definitely yield results even though it will take time and we shall defeat the injustices against women," She said.
Prof Maggie Kigozi, a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and President of the Business and Professional Women in Uganda cautioned parents to interest their children to become scientists such that it is not seen as a boy's thing.
"What toy are you giving your girl child to play with? Is she the one playing with the dolls while the boys play with computers or bicycles to ride? Are you encouraging her to do sciences? Let her be whatever she wants to be and let her reach wherever she wants to reach," Kigozi said.